Bush's Loose Nukes

Cooling towers at nuclear plantGeorge W. Bush has no plans to retire any time soon. A post at Think Progress reminds us that Bush plans to make "ridiculous" amounts of money on the speaking circuit. While he'd probably be more valuable as a frank and honest witness to his own incompetence, criminality, and hubris, this is George W. Bush we're talking about here. Bush doesn't plan any truth-telling tours, putting all his mistakes on display so we can all learn from them. Former president Bush plans to be exactly like then-president Bush -- three gallons of smart in a fifty gallon drum, with BS making up the difference.

What people will spend the big money to hear will be Baron George Von Munchausen spinning tall tales of his own greatness. That is, if his bio at his agency -- Washington Speakers Bureau -- is any indication:

President George W. Bush served in the Oval Office for eight of the most consequential years in American history. Faced with challenges from a terrorist attack to a global financial crisis, he made difficult decisions that will shape the nation’s course and world affairs for decades to come. His leadership after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, was an inspiration to millions of Americans. His policies, while controversial at times, kept the country safe for more than seven years and liberated more than 50 million people from tyranny.

Say what you like about President George, but he kept us safe -- that is, if you start counting right after the most deadly terrorist attack in American history. If you throw 9/11 into the mix, Bush averages more than one terrorist murder on American soil for every day of his presidency. In the "keeping us safe" category, Bush sucked just as badly as he did at everything else.

But, of course, we aren't supposed to point that out. We're supposed to pretend that 9/11 happened, they turned on the batsignal on top of the White House, and George W. Bush answered the call. We're supposed to pretend that a president eight months into his first term had just moved in and was unpacking. We're suppose to believe that George W. Bush was virtually born on 9/11 and everything that happened before then didn't actually occur.

And Bush would have us dismiss the problems after 9/11 as mere "controversy." For the Bush administration, spin has always been the answer. All problems were problems of public relations and could be fixed with photo-ops, propaganda campaigns, and nifty catch-phrases. And this approach to problem-solving (i.e., problem-not-solving) is still coming back to us.

[Government Executive:]

A number of institutions with licenses to hold nuclear material reported to the Energy Department in 2004 that the amount of material they held was less than agency records indicated. But rather than investigating the discrepancies, Energy officials wrote off significant quantities of nuclear material from the department's inventory records.

That's just one of the findings of a report released on Monday by Energy Department Inspector General Gregory Friedman that concluded "the department cannot properly account for and effectively manage its nuclear materials maintained by domestic licensees and may be unable to detect lost or stolen material."

Auditors found that Energy could not accurately account for the quantities and locations of nuclear material at 15 out of 40, or 37 percent, of facilities reviewed. The materials written off included 20,580 grams of enriched uranium, 45 grams of plutonium, 5,001 kilograms of normal uranium and 189,139 kilograms of depleted uranium.

"Considering the potential health risks associated with these materials and the potential for misuse should they fall into the wrong hands, the quantities written off were significant," the report tells us. "Even in small quantities normally held by individual domestic licensees, special nuclear materials such as enriched uranium and plutonium, if not properly handled, potentially pose serious health hazards."

Suddenly, I feel a lot less safe -- even in retrospect. "Significant quantities" of nuclear materials are missing and the administration's solution was to fix the numbers so they match. Problem solved. Meanwhile, there are still materials out there somewhere, doing who knows what who knows where for who knows what purpose. Nearly two metric tons of depleted uranium alone are missing; a possible ingredient in a "dirty bomb" -- i.e., a polluting device meant to spread radioactivity and cause panic. That's "keeping us safe," as defined by Bush's Department of Energy.

So Bush can start his new job as historical turd polisher -- he may even manage to get a nice shine on the turd that was his presidency. But it's still a turd and stories like this one will still come out. That's the problem with history; it comes with consequences.

But that's just "controversy." The man born on 9/11 is a big freakin' hero and an example of presidential perfection.

What, you don't believe me?

Ask him yourself.


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